But not much of it is fit to drink. I think I read somewhere that if all the water in the world were represented by 27 gallons, just about 1/2 a teaspoon would be all we had available for our domestic use. So today at the UN–and all over the world, in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands–we celebrated the World Day of Water.

At the UN there’s a new sense of urgency that water should be central to any discussion of energy or food, because the three areas are so related: often the same people that lack one, lack the others; two of the major users of water are the agriculture and energy sectors; often policies for energy and water conflict with each other; and it takes a lot of water to produce energy, and a lot of energy to produce potable water. It is expected that the “Watt per Drop” will get even higher very soon, as the global water scarcity problem worsens. Very soon, more than two billion people will live in the drylands of the world, and the rate of desertification is increasing…with all the implications that has for global food production.

There are solutions, one of them being the end of subsidies for fuel and water; full-cost pricing would help us conserve this precious resource, learn to use it sustainably, and protect the water we have. Now, I’m going to the faucet and marvel at the ease of getting that wonderful glass of clean water–and be grateful that I didn’t have to go four miles to get it, like many folks in this world do! Happy World Water Day…